5 Rules to Follow When You Buy a Hand Pallet Jack

Total Warehouse
By : NashBernardo


Hand pallet jacks -also called manual pallet jacks- are perhaps the most basic form of material handling equipment. They are by far the most common type of equipment used to move pallets. Practically every industry on earth uses hand pallet jacks and millions of pallets are estimated to be in use at any given moment. The next time you go to a grocery or retail store you will probably see an employee using a pallet jack to move inventory from the storage room to the shelves.
Versatility is the primary reason hand pallet jacks are so useful:

  • High lift capacity to handle large pallet loads: Lift-Rite offers Jacks that lift up to 8,000 LBS
  • Small, compact design: There are models as narrow as 14” overall width
  • Light Weight & easy to maneuver: Used in retail settings to safely move inventory around customers and safety hazards
  • Require almost zero maintenance: Pretty much all other material handling equipment requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Hand Pallet Jacks will last a very long time if they have a good-quality build

So now that you understand the basic functionality of hand pallet jacks, let’s look at how you can ensure you’re choosing the right one for your company. Here are 5 basic rules to ensure you’re purchasing a quality hand pallet jack:

1. Don’t pay for more than you need

It’s very important for you to truly understand your company’s pallet jack application. Are your pallets typically 500 LBS max? 4,000 LBS max? or 10,000 LBS Max? Standard pallet jacks have a max lifting capacity of between 3-5,500 LBS. Higher capacity hand pallet jacks will have a considerably higher price, and so you should avoid paying for them unless you need that higher lifting capacity.

2. Determine the pallet jack width, length, and lift height you’ll require

The same rule can be applied to the width and length you will need for your jack. The standard shape of a pallet jack is 27” wide by 48” long. 85% of our customers require this shape because it best fits a standard 48”x40” pallet. Since this size is so overwhelmingly popular, its price is considerably lower than other shapes… so don’t pay for what is called unique-sized jacks unless necessary. The lift and lowered height of a pallet jack will impact its price as well. A standard jack lowers to 3″ and lifts up to 7.75″, but there are Low & Ultra Low hand pallet jacks that lowered heights down to 1.75″ if your application requires. Keep in mind that these pallet jack costs a bit more.

3. Determine how frequently your hand pallet jack will be in use

You must also consider the regular use of your new hand pallet jack. Will you use it once per day? Or constantly for a full shift? Will it be used once a month? Or 365 days a year? Pallet jacks have a few key parts that need a high-quality build to stay intact and operational with constant use. The quality of the load rollers & steer wheels on a hand pallet jack is the dividing line between high & low-quality models. A quality standard jack (such as the Lift-Rite Titan Series) should have non-marking nylon rollers & wheels. If you have a very light workload, you may be able to get away with a jack -such as the Big Joe Value Series– that has polyurethane rollers & wheels. The polyurethane jacks are cheaper, but they will not last if you overuse them. So is it worth saving $100 now to risk not having a pallet jack available when a delivery comes in?

4. Know your pallet jack’s true manufacturer

Often, the logo you see on the pallet jack did not produce the pallet jack itself. Instead, a material handling company will slap its logo on the jack to hide its original manufacturer. This is done because these companies source their jacks from super cheap, low-quality vendors, then jack up the price using slick marketing terms. If you have ever bought a pallet jack from certain high-profile material handling websites, you probably have gotten their cheap, substandard equipment that needs replacing after a year or so. We get calls every day from customers having to replace their pallet jacks way too early.

All of our hand pallet jacks are manufactured by Lift-Rite, the industry leader in North America.

5. Understand your warranty and the value of what it offers

What are your true goals with purchasing a pallet jack? What would you consider a quality purchase? The answer is that you want a product that will do its required job very well… for a very long time… at the absolute lowest possible price, right? Having a strong warranty on your pallet jack is the only true way to be sure that your jack will live up to your aforementioned quality purchase expectations. If you have a warranty you can trust, you will never be put in that awful position of taking in or delivering an order without the proper equipment.

Also, make sure to take a close look at your warranty before you purchase it. Many companies will offer a vague warranty to replace the jack in event of major damage or defect. A good warranty -Such as ours- should cover at least a year from purchase and will replace the pump mechanism on your pallet jack if it needs it. These are commonly called “Pump Warranties.”

There you have it. Keep these rules in mind when you purchase a pallet jack. Ask your pallet jack provider these questions directly and they should have a direct answer if they aren’t trying to sell you an inferior product, which is more common than you’d expect.

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